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Newton Poll - 05/22/2010

The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Citizen newspapers. If you agree or disagree with something you read here, you may respond by e-mailing poll@newtoncitizen.com. Please remember that the Citizen Poll is not a forum for comments either for or in opposition to candidates seeking elective office.

"It is sad to see a school brag about achieving a 78 percent passing rate in math by having it on their entry sign. From what I remember, a 78 percent is a C."

"It is disheartening that the BOE asked all theme school parents to commit to see the first year through and allow them to make changes and adjust the program as needed due to a learning curve of starting up a new school. Parents held up their end of the bargain, yet the school superintendent and school board did not hold up their end. We stood by you and trusted you to make the necessary changes during this first year even when it was ugly and unpleasant. Yet, you close the school and leave all of our children hanging out to dry."

"What is the protocol if you find a check card in the ATM machine? We were at the Bank of America ATM outside of Lowe's in Conyers. Attempted to insert my card but the person before had left theirs in the machine. I had to cancel their transaction before it would take my card. Naturally it spit their card out. Waited around hoping they would return. Then tried to insert their card in hopes the ATM machine would keep it but it did the same thing, and I did not want to leave it for the next person. Called the number on the back of the card. It took the last bit of battery life of my cell phone before a CSR answered. I read him the numbers off the check card and he said it would be blocked and I could dispose of the card or drop it off at a BOA. Meanwhile, the other person in the car with me seemed to think I should have handed the card over to a deputy. Had there been a deputy nearby I would have asked for assistance. The bank employee at the number on the back of the card said I did the right thing, but then again when I asked if the card owner would be notified he said no. Help? What is the correct procedure should this happen again. They placed a block on the card and I will call the business tomorrow, still not sure I made the right call."

"I work at a local middle school and taught an Internet Safety class to all of the students. We covered the basics of safe surfing on the Web and how to use the Internet without revealing their personal information. After taking an informal poll of students who have Internet access at home, it was interesting to find out that most students have a computer with Internet in their bedrooms and they said that some parents do not monitor the time or the content of the Web sites they visit. Although technology is a wonderful tool for learning, I encourage parents to be involved in their students activity on the Web and maybe this summer, set time limits to encourage them to get outside and play."

"Josephine Kelly, Main Street manager, a raise! Expand her area! Expand her title! ... Go to Madison and surrounding towns. There are great little shops; great little restaurants; the sidewalks are pretty; there are flower pots and beds around their trees; there are tours of homes; activities downtown; and the list goes on and on. The Main Street manager job is to see about the downtown. Bring all of these things to our downtown. ... If the city and county need to save some more money maybe consider eliminating her job. ... "

"This is in response to the individual who questioned the budget for the Sheriff's Office. As a taxpayer in Newton County, I have attended several board meetings and listened to Sheriff Brown display the specific needs of his agency. You mentioned Chairman Morgan, Mr. Middleton and Commissioner Schulz explained the budget, but did they explain the particular needs of the Sheriff's Office and the consequences of not funding those needs. How can an agency close to distress begin with a zero-based budget? Do they continue to allow inmates to sleep on the floor because they have no staff to open additional sleeping space? Do they send the inmates out to another detention center and pay those expenses? Do they send the deputies out unequipped? Do they send the deputies out on calls in vehicles that have mechanical failures? Just wondering what your suggestion might be. In the future, when you're at the meetings, ask for additional details. Ask your leaders if they understand the operation of the Sheriff's Office. It is obvious they don't if they are not making provisions for basic needs. No sheriff's office is 'for-profit;' therefore, if they ask for the funds, it is used to protect our lives and property. ... For the record, I didn't support Sheriff Brown during the election but he has my full support next election. In all the years I've lived here, this is my first seeing someone make the needed changes in our community, with a sense of business and for selfless reasons. Great job Sheriff Brown!"

"In the years of the American Revolution an army of rebels against English rule fought the largest army in the world at that time. A government was created that gives the right to free speech, even to burn the flag as a protest. My point being that being a rebel against an unfair corrupt government is worth the sacrifice. So, if there are over 10 million illegal people in America protesting not being allowed all the privileges allowed American citizens, it seems to me that if this many protesters were to return to their homeland and do what the rebels did in the American Revolution ... That many is more that 10 times that the American rebels had. Then all of Central and South America would be as free as the citizens of the United States of America. There are not only illegals from Central and South America. There are many from England and Ireland and almost all countries of the world. So, really, what should or can be done to take care of this problem before it divides this country into chaos? Who has the answer?

"Why are sitting out recess, silent lunch, and silent bus common punishments for an entire class, due to the behaviors of a couple of children in that class ...? I have never seen a teacher go all day without talking, due to another teacher not making AYP goal."

"All one needs to do to become a misanthrope is to wait and watch people as they fumble for their overhead baggage when you had the good sense to check your own bags under the plane."

"Hello citizens, I'm writing this week because I'm sick of hearing the pimp mobiles going by my house at all hours of the night. I have a hard time understanding why the garbage coming out of their cars is still around. Acid rock was around for six years, disco was around for five years, punk rock was around for about three years, and I liked some of that stuff. Somehow this generation has managed to make rap, the lowest, most idiotic, raunchiest form of music known to the human race, stick around for 30 years. Hey, by the way, parents, psychology 101 teaches that if you let someone hear something enough they will act it out. So don't be surprised next Halloween when your kids dress up like pimps or gangsters. It's been coming for 30 years. Later on you can go see the lucky ones in prison or the unlucky ones in the morgue. In the early '80s they had a party for disco at Shea Stadium in New York where they had a bonfire marking the end of disco. How about another bonfire, citizens."

"Come on Newton Citizen. Get a new person delivering the papers in the big town of Porterdale. I am getting tired of paying for papers that I did not get. And when I do get them sometimes they are wet or torn, with some parts missing. If you cannot do your job, let someone else do it that will make sure that you get your paper. The other guy was always on point. Your paper was close to your steps and in a place you could get to. Please replace them!"

"Thank you to the driver of bus 08-20. If it wasn't for your quick thinking that would have been a horrible accident."

"Have you ever watched the City Council meetings on cable? ... As a life-long resident of Covington I have never been so embarrassed by the person holding the position of mayor. The mayor should represent all the people. Not just herself, what she needs and the Main Street manager. All she had done since she came into office has been to spend, spend, spend! In a time where people are losing jobs, she needs to decorate her office, get a raise, give her friend a raise and buy railroad property that is not something we need. How can she spend the amount of money she tries to push through and lay down and sleep at night when teachers are being fired ... and so many others in the city she supposedly is the mayor of? If the city has money for all that, then maybe she needs to figure out how to funnel it to ... help the education of our children and help the seniors that need help. She is not the mayor of the people of Covington. If she was and cared she would not be as selfish and thoughtless with her actions."

"As I go through the county, whether it be going to work, a local store or local restaurant, I see many properties ... in need of cleaning up. Why not have those incarcerated in the county jail put out in work crews to help clean these properties up since the owners will not. The county or city (depending on the location of the property) could then charge the owner a fee for doing so, and if necessary attach a lien to the property to require satisfaction prior to sale. This would bring in revenue, no matter how little and give those that are normally just sitting in jail a little exercise. This would help beautify our county and the city of Covington and not really cause a budget issue. Then maybe those who are paid to cite various ordinance violations can help offset their salaries. One such property does come to mind, it is on Conyers Street ... . It seems the grass is over 2 feet tall and has not been cut in quite some time. It certainly detracts from the grandeur of the other well-kept properties along that street and is a slap in the face of those who work hard to keep their properties looking nice and neat. Just a thought from a concerned citizen who has seen first-hand what lack of caring and action has done to areas of Gwinnett and DeKalb counties. We need to live up to our status as a beautiful little bit of country near the big city."

"This is in response to the person who wrote back about the buses. First of all, if the bus has to run for 30-60 minutes to get the air pressure to work, maybe the bus is not in running order and the children should not be on that bus. I don't think you let your car run that long to warm up. During the winter the children should have the proper winter attire. It is real sad that my tax dollars are paying for fuel that is being wasted when my tax dollars should be used for saving a teacher's job or the middle school sports program. It is time that the NCSS gets involved with this issue."

"This is in response to the comment about teachers getting paid for the summer when they're not working. This is a common misconception. Teachers are paid for 190 days of work per year (although the number of days for the 2010-2011 school year will be 184). Teachers' pay is spread out over the 52 weeks in the year, which I'm sure is where this misconception comes from."

"I am amazed that people still think that teachers are getting paid through the summer and don't have to work. The reality is teachers are paid for 190 (184 when you factor in this year's furloughs) work days. That equates to 10 months (less than that with furloughs). The BOE divides their total pay by 12 months so the teachers will have a paycheck to pay bills, buy food, buy gas, etc. each month. Teachers do not get a paid vacation in the school year or the summer. It is understandable that those of you who work year-round and have limited vacation time would think that teachers get paid during their vacation. The reality is, if they were paid only during the months they worked, they would have two months of zero pay and would either have to budget well or find a job that would pay them for those two months. Just a thought -- there is so much complaining about the quality of our education system -- so many good teachers are frustrated because of the treatment they receive from entitlement-seeking parents, poor administrators, and pathetic elected officials. It is so difficult to work in such a negative environment that seemed to be created when Roy Barnes was governor and destroyed teachers through his rhetoric, George Bush pushed NCLB into law, and Sonny Purdue's government continue to slash educational funding but keep pet projects. Teachers need to be allowed to teach and hold students and parents accountable for grades, behavior, etc. I miss the days where parents volunteered in the schools regularly, teachers were supported by the parents and administrators, and teachers were allowed to teach kids an education and not have to teach a dummied-down test that they still cannot pass. Everyone needs to be a part of the solution to education, but it starts at home!"

"To the uninformed soul who commented about teachers paying their own insurance: What other public service workers do you know that are paying for their own insurance premiums? Secondly, when you make comments, please know what you are speaking about. Otherwise, it sure makes you look ignorant. Teachers do not 'get paid all summer and are not made to work.' A teacher is paid under contract to work for 180 days (or 174 days with six mandatory furlough days). The pay for the 180 days is divided among 12 months of the year so that we are paid each month. Rest assured that teachers get nothing for free. In fact, when parents don't provide school supplies or the school runs out of money/supplies, teachers take the money from their own pockets so that these children don't go without. Please volunteer, even if only for one day, in the local school system so that you can exactly what a teacher does to earn their pay and how much they deserve help with health insurance premiums."

"They are at it again! The county mower operators need to be retrained or replaced. They continue to use the armed bush hogs equipment to 'trim' tree limbs 10 feet above ground level and let the debris fall into travel lanes and outside the rights of way. This equipment is designed to cut roadside grass and brush in the ditches, not tree limbs. The misuse of this equipment is very dangerous to the operators and the public."

"Clements administration, staff and parents are making it seem like the closing of Clements Theme was a complete curve ball. Seriously, folks, the enrollment numbers were dwindling and the Board of Education had to make a responsible financial solution. Why was Fairview left open? That is a simple answer because Fairview has an administration, staff, parents and student body that understand the concept designed for the theme schools. Fairview was not privy to any earlier information about Clements dissolving. Other than then general knowledge of the low enrollment numbers and information gathered from the parents, Fairview was not privy to any other information in regards to Clements. I have no idea why the administration, staff and parents feel slighted by the Board of Education. They had to see this coming."

"OK, let's get it straight. One hundred jobs is what the current county administration wants cut. Will John Middleton freely walk out? Will the other top department heads freely leave? Seems you have been doing this too long maybe. Was it not these people who asked for these jobs to start with? Why are (the employees) so easily discarded now? Mort, J.C., what were you thinking when you approved the budgets that allowed the hiring of these 100 extra, breaking the bank, not really needed jobs? Yeah, those guys have been around the longest. They were part of the group that made this mess. Really guys, these jobs are needed. These people are depending on you. Throw us away and we will remember. Throw Newton County away ... well maybe you already have and the mess needs cleaning up. Kathy, look around close. The ones that are walking the halls are the ones that said we were needed several budgets back. Kinda makes you wonder who is minding the store. One hundred jobs. John, I have heard you say 'We need these jobs.' Or were you just padding the numbers then? People look and see who is running this time. Speak loudly so others will listen."

"If the SCLC cannot get it together and be role models for others, it doesn't amaze me of the crimes of murder, bank robberies, drugs, home invasions, assault, etc. that is happening. What happened to when we get a new leader for 'change' life would change? I don't see it. It's time for all people to step it up and do the right thing. You know right from wrong. Be a role model for the younger generation. Become educated, be smart, be drug free and family orientated."

"I do watch Fox News because they are the only one giving fair and balanced news of the day. I am wondering where your information on Medicare came from? It sounded a lot like the propaganda expounded daily by AARP. It is a well-known fact that Obama has them in his hip pocket. They spent millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying activities to promote Obama's government-run (Socialist) health-care program -- a plan that will be an unmitigated disaster for seniors and for America. How can anyone believe in a trust fund being extended for nine more years when $500 billion will be cut from Medicare and Medicaid to help pay for Obamacare? Medicare pays so little now for treatment that it is extremely difficult to even find a physician that will accept assignment. Fewer students are making a decision to become physicians so there definitely will be a shortage. This, in turn, as all reputable economists have said about Obamacare, will result in the rationing (sharply limiting) of medical treatment for the elderly (as a way to save money). Many Americans are unaware of Congress's squandering of our Social Security Trust Fund savings. Most politicians don't want us to know. So far, Congress has taken (stolen) more than $3 trillion of our Social Security savings and spent this money on other projects and programs having nothing to do with Social Security. Our government will take another $250 billion this year alone. It is no wonder that Social Security is quickly running out of money. Fellow Patriots, we need to protect ourselves from Obama's Socialist agenda. The first step will be on Nov. 9, 2010. His followers must be ousted! The decision is ours and we must act!"

"This is in response to the concerned citizen wanting to know where Sheriff Brown was spending the additional funds he requested and the subsequent comment by another citizen that it should be obvious. Well, I must admit, it is not obvious to me either! I have not seen a sheriff's patrol in my neighborhood in about three weeks. I also heard that since being elected, Sheriff Brown has moved a lot of the deputies into administrative positions within the Sheriff's Department. Is that true? If so, maybe that is why I have not see a sheriff's patrol car in my neighborhood for about three weeks. Also, I think you (we) may be missing an important point. The sheriff is an employee of the citizens of Newton County. We elected him! He works for us! Each and every citizen of Newton County has right to ask Sheriff Brown, who is an elected constitutional officer, 'when, where and how is he spending our tax dollars to keep our families, homes, and community safe?' I think a public forum to discuss the sheriff's budget and expenditures is something that we should not have to ask for but should be done voluntarily by Sheriff Brown."

"I want to comment about all the cuts that are being made in the Newton County School System. Cuts are being made on all grade levels involving the children, but there are not very many cuts being made in the county office. I realize there is a deficit in county and state funds, but it shows what a sad state the whole of Newton County is in to be making the cuts that are being made! All the people that do the actual work and caring for the children in the school system are being targeted. No one has a clue what the paraprofessionals do for the children! I can't speak for all the Pre-K coordinators in the county but there is one at Ficquett that is more than a Pre-K coordinator. I don't know if the Board of Education has a clue what they are doing. This lady goes over and beyond to help the children not only at the school but throughout the community! She is not only a coordinator for the Pre-K children she is a social worker/resource coordinator for the whole school! The Board of Education needs to really rethink how these cuts are going to affect parents and children with no resources!"

"To those of you that wish to convert the old railroad into a 'Rails to Trails' walking and biking path, maybe you should contact other communities that have tried this. Contact some of the officials in Inverness, Fla., in Citrus County. Homeless people have moved into the woods near the Rails to Trails paths, living in cardboard boxes or tents; these homeless people use the woods as their toilets and garbage dump. There is a possibility that the same thing could happen here in Newton County."

"It is time for all our county leaders to go. Yes, all of them. They could not manage to get themselves out of a wet paper sack. School board is going to run all the good teachers off. I am calling on everyone of them on the BOC and BOE to resign for the good of the Newton County and our children. It is time for leadership. Wake up Newton County. Take a stand today!"

"Some long-time Democrats were voted out of office in Tuesday's elections in several states. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will be going later in the year. I am thinking after reading that the Newton County School System and the county commissioners are wanting to raise taxes, that all of them should be voted out as well. I for one am sick of this Obama 'tax and spend' agenda. I say vote them all out and start over!"

"OK, Newton County. It is time to step up to the plate and make a great move for the county. You have taken all our shopping away, so we go to Conyers to make purchases and spend our tax dollars there. Now that the property owned by Mr. Donnie Clack has been de-annexed back into Newton, can you please make the right choice and bring some growth and jobs to our area! There is nothing in this county for anyone to do. We have no theaters, no skating rink, nothing for people to do. A dragstrip would give us something great and exciting to do on the weekends and keep tax dollars here in the county. Please look at the big picture and the future of this county."

"I am very upset with the Animal Control in Newton County. Regardless of the contact made with them, nothing gets done. If it is after hours and mean dogs are roaming the neighborhood, Animal Control will not respond until someone gets bitten. If you call them to report the incidents, they 'attempt' to contact the dog owners, but if they see nothing wrong at that particular time, nothing is done about it. If you want action, it is required that you go to their office in order to sign and file a complaint and have a citation issued. You then have to take off to go to court when the citation comes before the judge in order for anything to be finalized about the problem. What is wrong with this picture? Since when is it OK to have vicious (pit bulls) animals running loose and have no county official man up enough to deal with it. What are we paying you to do?"

"I would like to know how many of our county commissioners have actually asked citizens in their district how they feel about raising the millage rate. Almost every one received a notice telling us our property value has dropped. If you're like me and your property dropped by 14 percent or more, that means the proposed 10.9 rate would only be an 11 percent increase and my net taxes would still be 3 percent less that last year. While I don't want to pay any more than last year, I will gladly pay the same amount so police and firemen are on duty if I call 911. I hope most other homeowners would feel the same way."